Is your business dialled into the right phone system?
Would your business benefit from lower phone bills with more flexibility?
For the many businesses who are choosing VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) telephone services over traditional phone lines, the savings and functionality can quickly add up to a phone system that suits their business and their budget.
Using VOIP would mean switching from your current phone hardware to one of the many hosted phone services available today.
So what makes VOIP such a good match for businesses? And how do you decide on the right hosted phone system for your business?
More flexible way to phone
Hosted phone systems are a flexible option for businesses of all sizes.
Put simply, VOIP means your telephone calls are routed through the internet instead of via a traditional phone system. The first step is to sign up to a hosted phone service that will provide everything you need to start making and receiving calls more cheaply from anywhere.
A hosted phone service can benefit your business in several ways:
- Savings on your phone bill - hosted numbers are frequently cheaper than traditional telephone numbers;
- Easy to use - once you have VOIP set up you'll find it's easy to use;
- Customizable - you can decide where calls get routed and build in menu options to suit your business;
- No hardware or maintenance - because everything is routed via the internet there is no need to worry about installing or maintaining phone lines and equipment;
- Easy upgrades - your provider takes care of updating your phone system when necessary with no workmen or disruptions to your daily routine;
- Flexibility - you can make and receive calls from anywhere with a good internet connection.
Choosing the best hosted phone service
Hosted phone services have a lot to offer your business, but how do you find the right one for you?
Choosing the wrong service could lead to problems with quality and consistency of service or customizing your new hosted number to suit you.
Before you make that first payment, be sure to ask the following questions:
What will my calls cost?
Make sure you have a good understanding of what it will cost to make domestic and international calls, or you could find yourself spending more than you bargained for.
What is included in the cost?
A provider might offer a great deal on calls, but charge if you go over a certain number of minutes, charge a usage fee, or charge for additional licenses for other staff members or numbers. Make sure you know exactly what you are paying for.
What value added features will I get?
Hosted phone services vary in the value added features they offer. Some providers offer caller ID, call waiting, call transfers, call forwarding, conference calls, speed dialing and blocking numbers. It's a good idea to figure out which features are key for your business and then find out who offers the best deal on those.
Does this provider offer a thorough assessment?
You are looking for a provider who can assess your needs and your existing phone and internet equipment to see whether or not you will need to pay for any new hardware. Many providers will also offer a free trial and/or a network test to help you work out if their service is a good fit for you.
What is the customer support like?
In the event of any problems you want to know that you can expect competent service and a quick resolution. Find out what hours their customer service team operates and how you can contact them. Take the time to look at reviews and find out how satisfied their existing customers are.
The right hosted phone system can change the way you work, offering lightness, flexibility, and financial savings too.
By taking the time to ask the right questions and reading the small print, you can ensure you are dialing in to the best phone system for your business.
About the author
Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as health, marketing, business, and SEO.
Six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda
New Deloitte research reveals that tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value as companies accelerate business model transformation, from undergoing digital transformations to rethinking their supply chains or investing in green initiatives.
According to Phil Mills, Deloitte Global Tax & Legal Leader, to “truly deliver value to the business, the tax function needs to rethink its resourcing model and transform its technology infrastructure to create capacity and control costs”.
And the good news, according to Mills, is that tax and business leaders have more options at their disposal to achieve this.
Reflecting the insights of global tax and finance executives at global companies, Deloitte’s Tax Operations in Focus study reveals the six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda.
Trend 1: Businesses seek more strategic counsel from tax
Companies are being pushed to develop new digital products and distribution channels and accelerate sustainable transformation and this is taking them into uncharted tax territory. Tax leaders say their teams must have the resources and skills to give deeper advisory support on digital business models (65%), supply chain restructuring (49%) and sustainability (48%) over the next two years. This means redrawing the boundaries of what tax professionals focus on, and accelerating adoption of advanced technologies and lower-cost resourcing models to meet compliance requirements and free up time.
According to Joanne Walker, Group Tax Director, BT Group PLC, "There’s still a heavy compliance load today, but the vision for the future would be that much of that falls away, and tax people become subject matter experts who help program the machine, ensure quality control, and redirect their time to advisory activity.”
Trend 2: Tipping point for resourcing models
Business partnering demands in the tax department are on the rise, but 93% of tax leaders say their department’s budget is remaining flat or falling. To ensure that the tax function can redefine itself as a strategic function at the pace that is required, leaders are choosing to move increasing amounts of compliance and reporting to a combination of shared service centers, finance departments, and outsourcing providers that have invested in best-in-class technology.
Trend 3: Digital tax administration is moving faster than expected
in addition to the rising focus of the corporate tax department partnering with their business counterparts, transformative changes to the way companies share tax information with revenue authorities is also creating an imperative to modernize operations at a faster pace. Nine in 10 (92%) respondents say that shifting revenue authority demands on digital tax administration will have a moderate or high impact on tax operations and resources over the next five years—and several heads of tax said the trend is moving faster than expected.
"It’s really stepped up in the last couple of years," says Anna Elphick, VP Tax, Unilever. "Tax authorities don't just want a faster turnaround for compliance but access into a company’s systems. It's not unreasonable to think that in a much shorter time than we expect, compliance will be about companies reviewing a return that's been drafted by the tax authorities."
Trend 4: Data simplification and lower-cost resourcing are top priorities
Tax leaders said that simplifying data management (53%) and moving to lower-cost resourcing models (51%) must be prioritized if tax is to become more proactive at delivering strategic insights to the business. Many tax teams are ensuring that they have a seat at the table as ERP systems are overhauled, which is paying dividends: 56% of those that have introduced NextGen ERP systems are now highly effective at supporting the business with scenario-modeling insights. Only 35% of those with moderate to low use of NextGen ERP systems said the same.
At Stryker, “we automated the source P&L process for transfer pricing which took a huge burden off of the divisions," says David Furgason, Vice President Tax. "Then we created a transfer price database to deposit and retrieve data so we have limited impact on the divisions. We are moving to a single ERP platform which will help us make take the next step with robotics.”
Trend 5: Skillsets are shifting
Embedding a new data infrastructure and redesigning processes are critical for the future tax vision. Tax leaders are aligned — data skills (45%) and technology process experience (43%) are ‘must have’ skills in a tax department of the future, but more traditional tax specialist knowledge also remains key (40%). The trick to success will be in tax leaders facilitating the way these professionals, with their different backgrounds, can work together collectively to unlock lasting value.
Take Infineon Technologies, which formed a VAT technology and governance group "that has the right knowledge about how to change the system to ensure it generates the right reports", according to Matthias Schubert, Global Head of Tax. "Involving them early was key as we took a greenfield approach, so we could think about what the optimal processes would look like and how more intelligent systems could make an impact
Trend 6: 2020 brought productivity improvements
Improved productivity (50%) and accelerating shifts to remote working (48%) were cited as the biggest operational benefits to emerge from COVID-19-driven disruption. But, as 78% of leaders now plan to embed either hybrid or fully remote models in the tax function long term, 34% say maintaining productivity benefits is a top concern. And, as leaders think about building their talent pipeline and strengthening advisory skill sets, 47% say they must prioritize new approaches to talent recognition and career development over the next two years, while 36% say new processes for involving tax in business strategy decisions must be established.